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Music Therapy Conversations

Jul 20, 2022

Jazz pianist, composer and educator, Simon Purcell came to prominence during the UK jazz boom of the 1980s. After working in East London schools, as a passionate music educator and thinker, Simon has been active in the conservatoire sector since 1985, first as a senior lecturer at GSMD between 1987-2005, Head of Jazz at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Dance and Music between 2005-2017 and returning to GSMD as International Chair in Improvisation in 2018. He has contributed to the development of jazz education in the UK for many years and in 2006 was awarded Jazz Educator of the Year by the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group.

Simon was a member of the Working Group for the Pop and Jazz Platform within the Association of European Conservatoires (2009-2018) and his research into teacher-development in jazz education was published by Ashgate in 2005. His work in jazz education has taken him to Brazil, China, New Zealand and many parts of Europe and current research interests are: teacher-education in jazz, jazz within wider music education and neurologically informed pedagogy. For more information see

Luke spoke with Simon in March 2022. Taking face to face in an actual room, they discussed improvisation and how to teach it, comparing perspectives in music therapy and jazz education. How is music experienced? What are the best ways to understand it? And how would you go about teaching improvisation badly?



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